TAMIU Alum First Hispanic Woman in History to Earn Public Administration Doctorate from Rutgers-Newark
Posted: 8/9/12

TAMIU Alum First Hispanic Woman in History to Earn
Public Administration Doctorate from Rutgers-Newark

“Education is a label of self love.”

Armed with this quote once heard from an undergraduate class professor at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), Karina Moreno Saldívar earned a master of public administration degree from TAMIU in 2008 while working a full-time job.

Karina Moreno Saldívar

Historic Day for TAMIU Alum

Karina Moreno Saldívar, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Master of Public Administration (MPA) alum ‘08, is the first Hispanic woman to earn a doctoral degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University-Newark. Her husband, Christopher Saldívar, left, graduated this spring with an MPA degree from Metropolitan College of New York.

Little did she know then that four years later, the road to success would lead to a much higher life platform.

This year, Moreno Saldívar, an immigrant from Monterrey, México, became the first Hispanic woman to earn a doctoral degree in public administration from Rutgers University-Newark, a program ranked 7th in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report.

In September, she will begin work as a full-time faculty member at Kean University’s Department of Public Administration in Union, N.J.

Moreno Saldívar, whose doctoral dissertation studied the effect of the Arizona immigration law (Senate Bill 1070) on Latino political attitudes and behaviors, said she is proud of her most recent accomplishment.

“I was able to keep focused due to a combination of factors,” she said, “Knowing I was representing Latinas in higher education and knowing  my dissertation research was giving a voice to a group that is often excluded or underrepresented were extremely powerful motivators.”

She thanked her husband, Christopher Saldívar; TAMIU MPA professor Dr. Peter Haruna; the faculty at Rutgers and family and friends for supporting her throughout her program completion.

“This endeavor was possible because I had the unconditional support of my husband, family and friends,” she said.

Moreno Saldívar, daughter of Israel and Idalia Moreno, is the first in her family to earn a college degree.

“My parents are two extremely brave people,” she said, “We are immigrants from Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. I dedicated my dissertation to them because they were brave enough to venture into something completely new and unknown so that my younger siblings and I could have an opportunity at both a better education and a better life.”

TAMIU’s MPA program propelled her to pursue a doctoral degree, Moreno Saldívar said.

“TAMIU’s MPA program is a quality program,” she said, “It is what motivated me to continue with my studies. I decided to apply to Ph.D. programs after discussing this possibility with my mentor, Dr. Haruna, who is an excellent professor in TAMIU’s MPA program. This relationship was always accessible over e-mail and phone and was incredibly helpful throughout my first year at Rutgers.”

She said TAMIU can take students as far as they are willing to go.

“I was one of six students accepted to Rutgers’ doctoral program (in public administration) in 2009, and I finished my Ph.D. with a 4.0 GPA in three years with two publications in scholarly journals,” she said.

She said she feels powered by her alma mater in many ways.

“TAMIU’s purpose and mission is a very noble and admirable one,” she said, “It fuels students like myself who are the first in their families to attend college and it does so in an individualized way that makes it possible not only to achieve that baccalaureate degree but to do the unimaginable.”

She said she never imagined she would some day earn a doctoral degree.

“I had never imagined prior to sitting in that classroom as an undergraduate student that I’d continue with my education until achieving a Ph.D., so, TAMIU, to me, is empowerment and for that, I am very grateful to the University.”

In the meantime, Saldívar said she and her husband, who also graduated this spring with an MPA degree from Metropolitan College of New York, will give back to their community by running the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 4 as part of a fundraiser for an international organization, Save a Child’s Heart.

“We saw this as our opportunity to plant goodwill and peace in the world, and what better race to do than one that goes through all five boroughs of New York?” she said.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 326.2180, e-mail prmis@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Fall Semester at TAMIU begins Thursday, Aug. 23. Late Registration continues through Wednesday, Aug. 29.

For complete information schedules and University catalog, visit tamiu.edu

Additional registration information is available on uonline.tamiu.edu, as well as Facebook and Twitter. An app for smartphone and tablet is available for free download at tamiu.edu


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu

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